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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Russia-Ukraine: Whose side is law on?

March 12th, 2014
02:49 PM ET

Ahead of the scheduled Sunday referendum in Crimea, Becky discovered more about the legal issues surrounding the Ukrainian crisis by speaking to Marc Weller, Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge. 

Weller told her that one significant fact was that Russia has formally confirmed in the past that it has no territorial claims towards Ukraine.

According to Weller, the upcoming Crimean referendum would not be recognised under international law.  "You cannot hold a referendum ever under circumstances of use of force of a neighbouring state."  Weller also said that a referendum should be the “final step” in a long process towards independence – a process which would normally include investigating whether they have a claim to self-determination, and the subsequent necessary negotiations with the Ukrainian government.

On the ousting of ex-president Yanukovych and the increased Russian presence in Crimea, Weller says that "if he cannot be president then certainly he cannot invite a foreign armed force into the country, and that's the key issue. Even if you say that formally he should still be regarded as president, if you lose control over the country to an extent that the majority of the population of parliament disowns you, you no longer have the right to ask foreign armed forces to come in."

Text: Ignoring West, Crimea readies vote on joining Russia

Text: Pro-Russians tighten security as Crimea heads for vote on joining Russia

Filed under:  Becky's Interviews • Russia • Ukraine

Barroso: "Peace and stability" are paramount

March 7th, 2014
05:30 PM ET

European Union leaders issued a joint statement addressing the Ukrainian crisis on Thursday. Becky was in Brussels and spoke to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, to find out how the talks went.

He said that the EU is ready to sign a political association agreement with Ukraine, along with a package of around €11 billion in financial support. In addition, the EU is seeking "unilateral measures of trade giving [Ukraine] access to our markets even before the ratification of all the agreements."

Asked about public opinion in Crimea, Barroso said, "We want the international law to be respected and today I can tell you there was a unanimous position by the 28 heads of state and government of the European Union reaffirming these principles."

He said the most important thing was respecting "the opinion of the people of Ukraine," and supporting "peace and stability.”

He added: "We want to have a constructive relationship with Russia but of course we cannot accept the kind of behaviour that we have seen."


Filed under:  Europe • Russia • Ukraine

Swedish PM: Russian aggression is unacceptable

March 7th, 2014
03:27 PM ET

EU leaders met in Brussels on Thursday for an emergency summit aimed at addressing the Ukrainian crisis.

Becky spoke to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to find out how the talks went.

Reinfeldt said that Russia's "unacceptable aggression", is threatening European Union members and that a shift in Russian policy in the region is "potentially dangerous."

He also reiterated the importance of a coordinated response by the EU and the U.S. towards Russia.

The EU has called on direct negotiations between the governments of Ukraine and the Russian Federation to start within the next few days. Failing to do so will lead to sanctions including "travel bans and asset freezes” and the cancellation of an upcoming EU-Russia summit.

Text: U.S. paves way for sanctions over Ukraine, Europe threatens to do same

Filed under:  Europe • Russia • Ukraine

Ex- IOC official: Judge Sochi later

February 6th, 2014
03:39 PM ET

Issues of politicization and questions of preparation are a staple of any Olympic Games, but in the end they'll be "defined by the seventeen days of sports performance". That's what Michael Payne, former marketing director of the IOC, told Becky when she spoke to him live from Sochi.

"There's always an awful lot of background chatter in the lead-up to the games. What we're seeing here from the IOC standpoint is frankly nothing new."

Answering the question of whether facilities would be ready on time, Payne stated that "Even before Lillehammer, probably the most successful Winter Games ever, the week before was not a pretty picture... Certainly the feedback you're also getting from the athletes who are coming into town is seeing facilities like they've never seen before, very positive feedback from the athletes' village. The media/TV facilities and press center is also getting very high reports."

Becky also asked Payne about the activists who are calling for boycotts over Russia's anti-gay laws. "The politicization of the Games has been there for the last century. I think President Bach has been very clear in the IOC leadership about the IOC's values and that all athletes, no matter what gender, what sex, what position are welcome, and they've received all the assurances and everything from President Putin. But I mean it amuses me, this gay debate. You go back to the Games in Atlanta – two years before the Games in Atlanta when they had the Volleyball Cobb County there was far more draconian proposals coming from the local community, anti-gay, and a whole boycott of sponsor products back then, so it's not exactly a new issue."

Filed under:  Activism • Becky's Interviews • Olympics • Russia • Sochi • Sport

Mexican skier: I'd only win best dressed

February 3rd, 2014
03:30 PM ET

With the Sochi Olympics just days away, the world's top athletes are converging on the Russian seaside resort.  Among them will be a Mexican skier, who's aiming to make a splash with style rather than sport.

55-year-old Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe has been skiing for Mexico in the Olympics since 1984.  While he doesn't stand a chance against the world's best downhill racers, his custom-designed uniform is sure to make an impact.  His quirky suit is inspired by Mexico's mariachis, well known bands of folk musicians.  Max Foster asked him where his Olympic style inspiration came from.

"We thought we'll do this mariachi outfit which is a guy who likes to sing, who likes life and who likes to have a good time, but still is Mexican without a doubt," von Hohenlohe said.  "Style will be remembered long after results are forgotten."

Filed under:  Entertainment • Fashion • London • Olympics • Russia • Sochi • Sport • Video
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